Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wilhelmus a` Brakel (1635-1711), a Dutch pastor and theologian, wrote a devotionally-focused systematic theology for his congregation. The Christian’s Reasonable Service was first published in 1700, but was only translated into English in 1992. For all of last year and the first part of this year, I read a portion of his work each day in conjunction with my personal devotions as I worked through the four volume set. This work lifted my soul day-by-day, and I highly recommend it to you for daily reading as well. For Christians who know they should be reading more and better books but struggle to read, this is a great place to start.

Here’s a sampling of the chapter on Spiritual Joy (Vol. 2, pp. 445-467) where we are exhorted to use the means God has given to attain joy:

“Continually exercise faith in Christ, reflect upon truths pertaining to the atonement and God’s way in which he leads man to salvation, and put your trust in Jesus, leaning upon him. To entrust yourself to Him, without seeing Him or apart from any feeling, is the way that leads to joy (1 Peter 1:8).

Secondly, continue to read and acknowledge the Word to be what it really is: the Word of God. Acknowledge that it addresses itself at that particular moment to you. Search for the promises, deem them to be unbreakable, and when you apply them to your soul as such, you will experience joy (Psalm 119:50).

Thirdly, pray much, and acquaint yourself with the Lord, by praying to Him, communing with Him, making request to Him, and laying before Him all that you lack and desire, especially your desire for joy (Psalm 51:8, Psalm 90:14).

Fourthly, engage much in holy contemplation and meditation. Reflect on who and what you are, the ways the Lord has led you hitherto, and upon your former mourning, seeking, and tears. Reflect upon the comforts and deliverances which the Lord has frequently given you, upon the benefits of the covenant of grace (each individually), and upon future glory and all that the soul will forever enjoy there (Psalm 104:34).

Fifthly, be much on guard against yielding to a sinful routine in your life. Even if there are no great falls, this yielding, this drowsy carelessness, and this departing from God will readily rob us of this joy. Rather, one ought to refrain from unrighteousness, and, upon falling, arise each time again and immediately run to the fountain once more; this will time and again, quicken joyfulness. May the God of exceeding joy gladden you! Amen.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

This week..

Happy to teach Joyce the art of canning peaches.. she did very well.
We tasted the peaches the next morning at breakfast- oh, wow!!!

We also prepared dried apples

Paul in the potato field with the machete.. The weeds are about 8' high in places
As Charlie says .. "I think we over fertilized."

We picnicked inside on Sabbath evening.. it was a day of celebrating
the August birthdays.. Keith brought this masterpiece of melon and berries!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The man who is about to sail for Australia or New Zealand as a settler, is naturally anxious to know something about his future home, its climate, its employments, its inhabitants, its ways, its customs. All these are subjects of deep interest to him. You are leaving the land of your nativity, you are going to spend the rest of your life in a new hemisphere. It would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode. Now, surely if we hope to dwell forever in that 'better country, even a heavenly one', we ought to seek all the knowledge we can get about it. Before we go to our eternal home we should try to become acquainted with it.

~JC Ryle

Friday, August 12, 2011

President Obama has repeatedly called for Israel to return to the "1967 borders," but that is a falsehood—there are no 1967 borders. What the President's plan would do in reality is return Israel to the 1949 Armistice lines...the borders that Israeli statesman Abba Eban described as "Auschwitz lines." The so-called 1967 borders are simply where the armies halted at the end of the previous attempt by Arabs to commit genocide against Israel.

From 1948 to 1967, Jordan illegally occupied the Holy City of Jerusalem until it was liberated during the Six Day War. The City of David belongs to Israel by every possible right—historic, military, and most importantly—prophetic. Yet now after forty-four years of a united city, President Obama is pushing as hard as he can to once again divide Jerusalem and hand it over to Israel's most bitter enemies.

Many observers have labeled the Obama Administration as the most anti-Israel US government ever, and they are correct. From threatening to withhold vital military and economic aid to condemning the building of homes for Jews in Israel's capital city of Jerusalem, again and again President Obama and his top aides and advisers have stood against Israel and for her enemies. Nowhere is that more clearly seen than in these final days leading up to the UN vote on Palestinian statehood.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking to the future

What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.

Romans 8:18-25 NLT

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I do love canning season- it's so rewarding to look at the pantry shelf and see what I've done all summer long.. and believe me, it's plenty.  Lots and lots of pickles which I share back to Charlie.. and then beans- the canner is cooking away right now with green beans.. yummy for winter!

Monday, August 08, 2011

WOW! Canning is moving right along.. I've added pickles to the ever growing list on the right hand side of this blog.. I really have done a lot of preserving this year so far.
Charlie just brought me green beans and yellow zucchini.  The squash won't make it to the preservation list as we will eat it as fast as we bring it in.  He also brought me 12 tomatoes suitable for the window sill.. not quite ripe.  That's okay, the Z's gave us a big bowl of ripe ones, and are they good !!!! 
I've finally changed my dill pickle recipe I've used for eons.. the first batch was the last one for sure- I use fresh dill and a grape leaf or 2  with the brine.  These pickles take 2 weeks to cure.
Charlie gave me a package of Mrs. Wages pickling spices and these take 24 hours to cure and are the best ever pickles!!  They taste like a deli pickle- and Kosher to boot!!  YUM!  I bought a packet of her bread and butter pickle spices and it was so simple to make the whole batch.. and they are ready NOW.  YAY!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Yesterday's rain was soooo refreshing.  It was an all day soaky one and the plants were loving it!  I got a lot of indoor work done, though there is a pile more to do.  Today I'll continue and get the guest room cleaned up so we can actually have guests and not have them feel like they are sleeping in a storage closet.  :)  I'm slow.. things seem to pile up and then I can't unpile them for even longer.. oh, well.. I'm retired and enjoying it.  The computer room needs an overhaul and boxes of history need gone through and either saved or pitched .. sometimes these papers just have a date/name on it to be filed on the computer.. either way, the job needs to be done and I don't know as I'll wait for winter to try to muddle through.
On to the day!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Under the Law or Grace?

The Biblical doctrine of Eternal Security does not give a believer a "license for immorality." Romans 6:15 plainly teaches that the born-again believer is NO LONGER UNDER THE LAW; yet is still expected to fulfill the Law... "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." But fulfilling the Law is a result of genuine repentance and NOT a prerequisite or requirement for salvation.

Again in Romans 3:31 we read, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Just because sinners are saved without works (Romans 3:20) does not give anyone permission to sin. Opponents of Eternal Security make the mistake of placing the cart before the horse, i.e., they expect people to continually forsake their sins to guarantee salvation; but it's the other way around, we depart from our sins because we are saved and love the Lord.

~David Stewart
"Let it never surprise true Christians if they are slandered and misrepresented in this world. They must not expect to fare better than their Lord." ~ J.C. Ryle